Mr. Bean – No, not that one!

By in Culture, Food, Philately on March 25, 2019
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Was the first Mr. Bean actually a ninth-century Ethiopian goatherd Named Kaldi? There is a fabled story that he discovered coffee when he noticed how excited his goats became after eating the beans from a coffee plant. It is now estimated that about two billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide each day!

Stamps from Ethiopia 2011 entitled ‘Coffee Ceremony’, showing the cooking and crushing of the coffee beans and pouring of the coffee. the stamp far right shows traditional coffee pots.

Ethiopia is the top producer of Coffee in African region. Around 4,000 square kilometers of land is given over to coffee cultivation with a total production estimate of 265,000 tons per year. But the biggest producer of coffee in the world is Brazil.  The country currently produces an amazing annual crop of around 2,250,000 tonnes. Yes, as in the Frank Sinatra sang “They’ve Got an Awful Lot of Coffee in Brazil”.

Above Brazilian stamps issued in 1928 to celebrate 200 years of coffee in that country.

In 2001 Brazil even produced a stamp that emitted the aroma of coffee.

Whether the Kaldi story was true or not it is recognised that Arabica coffee was first discovered growing in south-western Ethiopia somewhere between the 8th and 12th Century. By the 14th Century coffee was already being commercially cultivated in Yemen thanks to Arabian merchants trading in Africa.

But when European traders became aware of the coffee plant in the 17th Century and began to grow the plant in their colonies there was a great surge in demand for coffee in Europe. In fact after African and the Arabian Peninsula countries the oldest coffee producing nation was Dutch Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) where coffee was first cultivated 355 years ago.

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